BOOK XVI. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF FIVE DAYS.
6. Chapter vi. In which the history is obliged to look back.
In which the history is obliged to look back.
It is almost impossible for the best parent to observe an exact
impartiality to his children, even though no superior merit should
bias his affection; but sure a parent can hardly be blamed, when that
superiority determines his preference.
As I regard all the personages of this history in the light of my
children; so I must confess the same inclination of partiality to
Sophia; and for that I hope the reader will allow me the same excuse,
from the superiority of her character.
This extraordinary tenderness which I have for my heroine never
suffers me to quit her any long time without the utmost reluctance. I
could now, therefore, return impatiently to enquire what hath happened
to this lovely creature since her departure from her father's, but
that I am obliged first to pay a short visit to Mr Blifil.
Mr Western, in the first confusion into which his mind was cast upon
the sudden news he received of his daughter, and in the first hurry to
go after her, had not once thought of sending any account of the
discovery to Blifil. He had not gone far, however, before he
recollected himself, and accordingly stopt at the very first inn he
came to, and dispatched away a messenger to acquaint Blifil with his
having found Sophia, and with his firm resolution to marry her to him
immediately, if he would come up after him to town.
As the love which Blifil had for Sophia was of that violent kind,
which nothing but the loss of her fortune, or some such accident,
could lessen, his inclination to the match was not at all altered by
her having run away, though he was obliged to lay this to his own
account. He very readily, therefore, embraced this offer. Indeed, he
now proposed the gratification of a very strong passion besides
avarice, by marrying this young lady, and this was hatred; for he
concluded that matrimony afforded an equal opportunity of satisfying
either hatred or love; and this opinion is very probably verified by
much experience. To say the truth, if we are to judge by the ordinary
behaviour of married persons to each other, we shall perhaps be apt to
conclude that the generality seek the indulgence of the former passion
only, in their union of everything but of hearts.